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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ATTENTION SCOFFLAWS: You Have Until Midnight to Pay the Arts Tax

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Because our reader polls are super-duper scientific, it's a proven fact that 35 percent of eligible Portlanders will refuse to pay the city's $35 arts tax by midnight tonight.

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Based on population alone, that's 200,000 people who've decided they can simply get away with not paying a tax approved by 62 percent of voters just eighteen months ago. The real number is actually substantially less, given that you're exempt if you earned less than a $1,000 bucks last year and/or rely on entitlements to make ends meet.

But we're still talking about millions of dollars that could be going to schools and arts organizations that aren't.

Some of you, I realize, have opposed the tax from the start. Fine! And maybe you can get away with ignoring it! The city has said it won't sic collections agencies on scofflaws until they miss a few years of payments. Except the arts tax isn't going away, as much as you might hope. So eventually, they'll catch up to you.

And the rest of you liked it until it came time to pay it—something that was exceedingly difficult last year and even cost you extra money if you tried to do it online. (That's not the case this year.) It's not perfect. This much is true. But then, when the tax raised less money than expected, some of you skeptics who helped bring about that outcome tried pointing to it as some kind of a justification for not paying. Even though it was partly your fault.

The good news is you still have time to do the right thing this year. More than 12 hours' worth! Arts education matters. And it's not just about schools, who have first dibs at whatever's raised. It's also about arts organizations—most of which aren't dripping with money and could really use the money they've been promised to make sure kids who'd otherwise never get to see a play or stroll a museum get those chances.

So click here. Do it now.

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